As the world turns a calendar page to yet another month of this unwavering crisis, some of us have been in a lockdown for two weeks, some for a month, and others even longer. Daunting and endless as this confinement might seem, an even more frustrating question keeps coming up. How was our life different before? Were we free from the dark internal demons that are now haunting us, staring us straight in the face?
Start with confinement. Bound to our house, waking up every morning to the sameness reminiscent of a house arrest, unable to get out, scared to step outside, bored out of our minds, our only hope is that someone/something will end our misery soon. It’s always someone else that’s responsible for our well-being. We never had the audacity to be the protagonists of our own creations. Externally we had a myriad of distractions: our careers, making ends meet, social life, goals. After all we were going somewhere, right? Or were we? How free were we before this virus gave us a pause? Did we really exercise the power of our free will when we had it?
Life kept going by in a blur of unconscious moves for most of us. Indoctrinated to a religion or a belief system before even becoming conscious, tied the man or woman of our programmed dreams, obsessed by jobs we always pursued only to get stuck, we are constructs of the institutions that dictate our roles, behaviors, beliefs. The ground hog day we are living today in the lockdown was actually conjured up a long time ago by our minds, creeds, limitations. Coronavirus finally helped us witness the materialization of our inner confinement.
We woke up day in day out, following the same old routine, thinking the same outdated thoughts, that would eventually drive us crazy, stayed within our zone of comfort, bound by fear. Fear you say? Nothing compares to the fear of the virus, Coronavirus! Maybe. But fear of dying has always been a guiding force. Fear of dying, fear of not being good enough, fear of sameness.
I can’t thank the virus enough for the restrains it has put on us, because it finally allowed me to see the confinement I had created way before its advent. As anxious as I am to get out, I really hope it lasts long enough to help us untangle ourselves from ropes we so powerfully tied ourselves with prior to its arrival.
I hope we have enough time to rethink what it means to be human. To look at the world we’ve created with a critical eye and have the audacity to say, NO, this is not working anymore, let me be an agent of change, to redesign the social institutions, redefine the norms, rethink my values, and allow myself not to conform. Because the ability to practice our freedom is not about our right to buy guns, brands, and looks. It’s about embracing choices that align with our inner truths, with our decision to live fully and by extension creating a world that’s a better place to live for everyone.
What have I been rethinking? I’ve been wondering whether I’ve ever believed in myself enough to be bold and adventurous. Whether I had the real audacity to wake up each morning, destroying the rules I had created yesterday, so I could create new ones from scratch. To never look back at my day at sunset and feel like the sunshine had been wasted, because who knows if it will ever come up again the same way it did today.
I’ve been rethinking what makes me social and what the responsibilities that come with being a social being really are. Is it exercising the right to make appearances at fancy restaurants, getting in members-only clubs, and having a million of followers online? Though I can’t say I am immune from the latter yet, today when a hungry stranger approached me on the street, I felt that the responsibility of honoring his cry for help and giving him a helping hand were what it really was about. The look in his eyes will haunt me until I can do something about the injustice of the divide we are living today.
I’ve been pondering on what makes me live my life more fully, so that when the scare is over, I can step outside that door and really CREATE something new, something different, CHOSE my days. To recalibrate the inner liberty within even before Corona is gone. Maybe that’s why its sticking around, because for some of us, the process will take a while, and we really can’t keep putting this off anymore. Because the truth is that real living is dangerous living. Real living is taking risks. Real living is stepping outside the boundaries, questioning, breaking old rules that are no longer useful, and stepping into a place, where fear does not exist. Personal choices we make in being free to choose, directly reflect and materialize in the external world. When we live looking back, afraid, and bound by the rules and limitations someone has created for us, we perpetuate not only our own unhappiness, but a world that’s suffering socially, environmentally, and politically. Environmental degradation, poverty and inequality, unhappy marriages, discrimination, hatred, suicide, depression, disease exist not somewhere out there, created by ´them´, but inside the choices We individually have been making every day.
Coronavirus has come here to show us where we have erred. It’s time to rethink these choices. Not when this is over. But now, starting today: the day we wake up not guided by fear, but by love, compassion, and inner desires. Because fear loses its power only when we embrace the present moment, dissipates with the first full breath we take, and gives place to the first step in creating Real Meaning in our lives.